NBA Picks: Spurs vs Heat Odds, Prediction and Live Score
After Gregg Popovich’s incredible basketball machine sputtered to a halt during the 2016 NBA playoffs, much of the league wrote the Spurs off when Durant signed with the Warriors. No one predicted that the Spurs would earn a 29-point blowout, especially one in which Gasol and Parker combined to score eleven points. Although Miami does have an elite rim presence in Whiteside, it’s unlikely that the rest of the Heat will be able keep up with the Spurs at either end of the court.
San Antonio Spurs vs Miami Heat Pick
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The San Antonio Spurs were almost able to match the Warriors throughout the regular season, earning 67 wins in the process. Their 67-15 record was the seventh best season in NBA history, and three of their losses were against the Warriors, showing the quiet dominance of San Antonio basketball. Despite finishing with six fewer wins than the Warriors, the Spurs had a better net rating, finishing with a point differential of +11.49 compared to the +10.86 mark posted by Golden State.
While players such as Aldridge and Leonard represent a formidable attack, the Spurs earn their reputation through legendary defence, finishing first in the league for defensive net rating, allowing only 99.55 points per hundred possessions, more than two points less than their closest rival. In fact, when adjusting for the difficult of their competition, San Antonio’s defensive net rating drops even more. Include the fact that the Spurs possessed the fifth best offence last year, and you begin to understand why most teams simply can’t compete.
The Heat have gone from annual NBA Finalists to a team reeling from the loss of the big three, including the tragic blood clotting issue that appears to be the end of Chris Bosh’s career. Youngsters such as Justise Winslow and Tyler Johnson will be expected to raise their game along with vets such as Goran Dragic and Dion Waiters. However, there’s simply no way to replace players like LeBron, Wade and Bosh, which damns the Heat to mediocrity in the eastern conference.
Last year, the Heat had difficulty producing from the three-point line, which is an issue that they weren’t able to address during the off season. Since Bosh is unlikely to play again, they also have serious issues at the power forward position. This reduces the effectiveness of Hassan’s defence, which will be a huge issue when facing teams like the Spurs, who have one of the best power forwards in Lamarcus Aldridge. Expect the Spurs to extinguish the Heat quickly, giving the starters a chance to rest on the bench in the fourth quarter.
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Despite consistently being one of the best teams in the league for nearly two decades, the Spurs have been a bit unlucky as of late, which has cost them a ring or two over the last five years. The latest misfortune that the Spurs face is Kevin Durant moving to the Warriors, which is all but guaranteed to create one of the strongest offenses in the history of the NBA. The Spurs opening win against the Warriors was a warning shot with a clear message: ignore us at your own peril.
At this point, the Heat have managed to lose all the main contributors to their three NBA championships since 2000, getting nothing in return. It appears that Pat Riley’s Miami mafia won’t be able to recreate the halcyon days anytime soon, which might be a consequence of Riley’s hard-boiled management style that alienated Wade and drove LeBron to the Cavaliers. In this way, they’re the opposite of the Spurs, who seem to effortlessly pass the torch between one generation talent to the next, maintaining the highest level of ball quality in the process.
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